http://www.slate.com/id/2235351/ (orig. 11/012/09) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There
Hey there shippers! Holy smokes, it’s November! I mean, okay, I realize it was November last week, too, but I can really feel it and see this week. The cool, crisp air. The falling leaves. The kids building leaf canons out of cast off 50 gallon drums and gasoline. Ah, November and Darwin! Mixing since the beginning of time (or at least since the invention of gasoline) to bring us a more perfectly evolved race. But, that’s not our concern today, is it shippers? Nope. Today we’ve got letters! So, let’s get crackin’!
LW#1: Prudie, I’m plain. And men, well, you know, they’re all into hot chicks because they're all visually stimulated and don’t care about anything other than a hot rack and tight ass. So, I guess that leaves me out of the race. My friends say that I’m attractive and should get all gussied up and flirt (neither of which I’m comfortable with) and land me a man. But, since I know they’re lying about my looks, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Now, if I looked beautiful, you know, like Pam Anderson, with over-filled lips, boobs and butt, and barely two brain cells to rub together, I’d be more than happy to get out there. But, as I’m not Pam, I guess I’ll be a spinster. At least I’ve got my cats. What say you? Listen here, you fucking idiot. How dare you make blanket statements about guys as if we’re just brainless, thoughtless, walking penises, always looking for the next hot lay? So, women have a lock on desiring romance and chemistry and intelligence and wit, do they? Listen, if you have something, anything, to offer, there are men out there who will find you attractive. Would you wrap a diamond ring in a gawdy box with shiny wrapping paper and bows and ribbons and one of those cards that plays “Suwannee River” when you open it, or would you simply allow the ring’s class to speak for itself. Your friends are idiots and likely need to be wrapped in mylar and bows. You want a mindless prick? Follow their advice. You want someone who gives a shit about you? Learn to be comfortable in your own skin, in your own comfort zone, and quit blaming men’s supposed desire for a pretty face for your marital status. Some many of us actually value intelligence and wit and humor and class above vacuous playthings. And if that’s what you want, we’re worth looking for. But, truth is, given what you've told us, I don't know if I'd want you to find me.
LW#2: Since getting married, my husband and I have attended Thanksgiving at his sister’s house with the rest of his family. Prudie, it’s horrible there. She runs the place like some prison camp! The kids are relegated to a single room to play in, dinner is eaten precisely at fourteen hundred hours, and, even before we all sit down to eat, my SIL is packing up the food! I’m through with this Gestapo treatment and want to do Thanksgiving like it should be done, in a relaxing way, valuing family unity and being welcoming rather than pretending we’re contestants on “The Thanksgiving Boot Camp Show”. What should I do? Okay, here’s the thing. Prudie has the right idea. You need to host your own soirée. But, she’s way wrong on execution! It’s too late this year to throw your own, alternative party. That’s just going to piss off everyone and cause much strife. You don’t have to attend your SIL’s this year if it’s just going to stress you out (feign sickness), but don’t throw a competing party this year at this late date. That’s just shitty. Instead, make sure that your husband is 100% behind you (because, without his support in this, you’re sunk and would be better off ordering out for Chinese food). Tell SIL that next year, you are going to host, and, too, that you’re going to host each alternating year. Period. From there, do just like Prudie said. Don’t back down, don’t take no for an answer, and, if SIL doesn’t show up, so be it. Maybe she can learn from you how Thanksgiving is supposed to be celebrated? P.S. As for how often you see hubby’s family members? That’s irrelevant and you need to drop it from your argument. Family is family, and Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving, no matter how often or infrequently you see them.
LW#3: Prudie, I work for a great dentist. Actually, he’s positively dreamy! His wife, though? She’s a flaming bitch. I hate her. Truly. Worse still is the fact that she’s the office manager and is committing insurance fraud by overcharging our customers’ insurance companies. I know good and well that she’s doing it and, too, that the dentist doesn’t know it’s going on. At all. He’s the model for honor and righteousness and dignity. If I can get the wife arrested without affecting the husband’s career or our practice, I can slide right into the wife’s slot (professionally and personally). What should I do? Okay, I may have been a bit unfair about motive there, but, come on! Where’s the conflict? If you value your job, if you need it to make ends meet in this tough economy, if your kids will starve or your mortgage will go unpaid, you stay quiet. Unless you’re required to commit the fraud yourself (which you should not do, obviously), you have little choice. But, too, you must start looking for another job. Today. As soon as you find a place to go to, then send the detailed, anonymous letter to the authorities that Prudie suggests. That may seem morally bankrupt and all, protecting your pay check, but I’m a realist and believe that so long as you’re not committing the fraud yourself, and so long as you’re honestly and sincerely looking for work, you’re morally okay. Now, if you don’t have to have the job to get by? Then write that letter today. What wifey is doing is wrong, and you know it. As for your aspirations to take her place? Forget them. Your dreamy dentist knows exactly what’s going on. And he encourages it.
LW#4: Prudie, I recently attended a funeral with my husband. A man there fainted, and, being a nurse, I went to help him. The man has a medical condition, so 911 was called. We got the man taken care of and went on with the funeral. On the way home, my husband asked me about the man who’d fainted. I started telling him about the man, but then went on to talk in great detail about the funeral (which, as I said, my husband attended, too). Amazingly, though, even though he’d been there and heard and seen everything I was telling him with his own ears and eyes, he got disinterested and started listening to the World Series! I was shocked and appalled and can’t believe how rude he was. How can I tell him how hurt I am by his insensitivity? Well, you can start by using your words in the future to sum.mar.ize. And, too, by noticing if there’s a game on if you decide to not summarize. You may watch the Oscars every year with rapt attention, but you don’t give a good god damn about sports, right? Well, he’s the same, only he doesn’t give a shit about the Oscars. So, out of respect, when one of you is into a big event (like the World Series), the other might want to use discretion about what they really need. Rehashing a funeral that your husband actually attended himself, while there's a World Series game going on, is a lose-lose situation. He was genuinely interested in what you did to help the man who’d fainted. He listened to those details with rapt attention, I assure you. He even asked you about it, and he was proud of you for your actions (and I’ll bet he showed it). That’s not something he could fully understand just by being there and he listened to you explain what had happened, what you did, and why. But pouring your heart out, rehashing the eulogy and the flowers and what the widow was wearing and the priest’s pronunciation of “chalice” and the entire funeral that your husband just attended, right there with you?! Come on. Give the guy a break. Unless, of course, you want a rehash of the early Sunday game while you’re watching the Oscars. I’m not saying your husband should be given a free pass to not listen to you. I’m saying that no human (man, woman or child) can be expected to listen all the time to everything. As they say, choose your battles.
Well, shippers, I guess that’s it! If we can get through November and December with all of our fingers and toes intact, who knows what wonder and happiness the New Year and January will bring? I’m looking forward to it all! I do love the holidays (and the leaf canons). Hang in there shippers, keep your dive-to-surface ratio steady at one, and, as always, fair winds and following seas to ya!